Present Shock Is Killing Us And Why This Might Be A Good Thing

Rammohan Susarla
5 min readApr 10, 2022

The world is in the grip of a serious malady and that is “present shock”!! Before I go further, let me explain what I mean by present shock and why this particular phenomenon has such a “hold” over all of us and is leading us down a Rabbit Hole of unreality. Simply put, present shock is the term to describe how the convergence of our 24/7 media-saturated world and the “speeding up” of time and the acceleration of modern life, are all making us live for the moment and live in the moment. While living in the moment is welcomed by seers, especially of the Buddhist dispensation (the term they use is mindfulness), living for the moment means that we abandon longer-term thinking and submit ourselves to the exigencies of the moment. Thus, we are now in the throes of present shock, where everything happens now and what matters is the instant and the ever ending gratification of endless dopamine “hits” provided to us, courtesy of Big Tech and their “enablers” in media, business, and politics. Mind you, this term is not my original creation and the credits should go to Douglass Rushkoff, one of the leading writers on tech and what is doing to our world. Rushkoff, in his eminently readable book on Present Shock, explains how the “pressure” to focus on the moment benefits only those with the means and the resources to afford “switching off” whereas we lesser mortals can only gawk at their indulgence, as we plebeians can only submit ourselves to the vicissitudes of the present, unable to do anything about the “coercive” power of tech and social media.

Having said that, I must admit that it is facile to blame media and tech alone for present shock, without taking a broader view of how we arrived at this situation. For instance, ever since the 1990s, when the internet emerged and when cable television went global, it has become commonplace for corporates to desist from giving longer-term guidances on their businesses, and instead, limit themselves to at most an annual forecast. Even that is now being reduced to quarterly and semi-annual guidances. While this is also due to the very real aspect of uncertainty over the longer term, it has something to do with the way stock markets are reacting more to shorter-term forecasts rather than longer-term guidances. Indeed, much of the corporate world globally routinely makes it a point to…

Rammohan Susarla

Writer seeking metaphysical fulfillment by publishing meditations and ruminations about the world.